Moldy pie! Yum!
Blueberry to be exact. Just sitting there inside a glass cube atop a white pedestal, going uneaten – and unloved – beneath the Carnegie Art Museum’s overhead lights and in the joyless shadows of other, though decidedly less Minimalist works of contemporary art. Can’t recall the artist’s name. (Pillsbury? Crocker?) Seems like centuries ago now. The piece was already profoundly degraded when I came across it, some time in the late 1990s, when hucksterism in contemporary art was de rigeur. A handful of the era’s causeless rebels sooner or later surpassed their shtick: Damien Hirst, Tom Friedman, Karin Sander. The rest, though, like maybe the moldy-pie maker, evidently got shtuck in ruts, claiming space no one could see and cracking jokes no one could hear, all undoubtedly in an existentially charged, furious desire to call into question everything. Life, love, art, baked goods – you name it. The moldy-pie maker and his friends wanted answers, man!
Or maybe they just wanted their pictures in the paper. In any case, here’s what we do know: While the remains of perfectly good pies that do not eventually find our bellies usually end up either in the garbage or in doggie bowls, Mr. Moldy-Pie Maker’s confection – all of it – sat in a vaunted Pittsburgh museum for God knows how long. Probably months. Another factoid (or maybe an assumpt-oid): Throughout his life, Mr. Moldy-Pie Maker sacrificed a lot – time, money, love, food – to get himself in a position to even serve The Man, who in all likelihood just wanted a nice painting, not stale dessert. In other words, anybody can whip up a blueberry pie and let it rot. But only an artiste can whip up a blueberry pie, exhibit it in a major American art museum, and then let it rot.